Workshops

The Old brewery Studios-s

Workshops

WILLOW WEAVING WORKSHOPS AT THE OLD BREWERY STUDIOS 2024

Welcome to our 2024 willow weaving programme. From January through to October 2024 we will be providing one, two and three day basketry workshops. This is the last year we will be offering sculpture workshops using metal frames.

We are delighted to once again be hosting professional basketmakers from UK and France, they are fabulous teachers and top quality craftspeople, it is a highlight of our job to welcome them to our workshop venue. Francois Desplanches, Benjamin Nauleau, Alexandra Marks, Jenny Crisp, Clair Murphy, Peter Dibble and Nadine Anderson and Leather Craftsman Justin Capp. They all work with a glorious palette of sustainable materials and generously share their techniques and practice with students here at our venue. What a privilege!

Workshops Levels

Workshops are suitable for beginners, improvers and advanced students. Not all workshops are suitable for beginners, so before booking, please check which workshops require previous experience in basketry. You need to have strength and flexibility in your hands for all basketry.

Workshop numbers

Most workshops have 6 students. Some of our tutors have kindly offered to teach 8 students, this helps with the running costs of workshops, especially for tutors who have travelled long distances. We try to keep the cost of workshops affordable, but have had to increase our fees this year. The Tuesday classes offer a discount to students who book three classes in a row.

We have  basketry books and tools on sale at workshops.

How to  book a place on a workshop

* Choose a workshop and send an email to Sue at suekirkwillowbaskets@outlook.com   (You cannot book workshops online).

*You will then receive an email from Sue with a letter attached which contains information about workshops and payment details. Bookings are only secured once payment has been received in full. 

*We have a refund and cancellation policy. Please read this before making your payment.

*If a workshop is full, you can join a reserve list. We often have cancellations, just email Sue to join a reserve list for a workshop.

You can also pay by cheque. If you prefer to do this, email Sue first and then post your cheque along with a booking form   

We also have gift vouchers available for Christmas and Birthdays, please email for details. 

Covid health and safety guidelines for workshops.

*  Each student will have their own individual work area and bench.

* Doors are left open throughout the day to allow air to circulate freely around the room, so it's advised that you bring warm clothes!

willow bed mill
mixed plant supports

WILLOW GROWING DAY WITH KIRK

Thursday 11th January FULL

Ever wanted to plant your own willow bed? On this one day workshop Kirk will cover all aspects of small scale willow growing for basketry. The day will include some hands-on practice in the willow beds and discussion in our workshop. We will cover in detail, all aspects of site preparation, planting, bed maintenance, harvesting and grading suitable for any sized plot. At the end of the day you will take home a handout and 40 cuttings to plant. 

Cost is £70 per day, includes 40 cuttings, tea and coffee and soup provided for lunch. 9.30am - 4.30pm. (8 students) Suitable for all levels.

ONE DAY GARDEN STRUCTURE WORKSHOPS

 Weave two large structures each day using willow from the Somerset Levels and grown organically here in King's Cliffe.  Learn how to select and prepare willow when making these structures.

Cost is £100 per day, includes materials, bring your own lunch. 9.30am - 4.30pm. (6 students) Perfect for complete beginners. Also suitable for intermediates and advanced students.

GARDEN STRUCTURES

Monday 26th February (including Living willow plaited trees) FULL

Tuesday 27th February (including living willow plaited trees) FULL

Monday 4th March FULL

Monday 22nd April FULL

There are a variety of structures to make for your garden. You can make 2 willow plant supports in one day. You can choose to make the beginners 'banded' support which can range from 4'-6' tall. Or the more advanced 'spiral' support, or make smaller supports for pots. There are also domed supports peonies or delphiniums. Plus, ornamental dragonflies and bird feeders. In February you can make plaited living willow trees.  A great workshop for complete beginners as you get to practice the basics of basketry. It's also a fun day making useful and beautiful structures for your garden.

TWO DAY WORKSHOPS WITH KIRK AND SUE

BASKETMAKING 
These two-day basketry workshops are either taught by both Sue and Kirk or just by Sue. If Sue and Kirk are both teaching on the same day then each tutor has 3 students in two separate rooms, so you benefit from plenty of one-to-one teaching time, plus you can have a look at how the other group's work is progressing and share techniques over lunch. Kirk and I have been repeatedly making these baskets for some time and have lots of tips to share with you. You will work with willow grown organically here in King's Cliffe and willow from the Somerset Levels. 

Cost £200 includes materials, tea and coffee. 9.30 am till 4.30pm.

Thursday 18th and Friday 19th April Log Baskets with Kirk and Laundry Baskets with Sue.

Advanced and intermediate students only. Please note: the underfoot base in both workshops requires students to work stood up in a 'touch your toes' position and then a kneeling position for some time. Please also note that the heavy rods used in these baskets make the courses unsuitable for those with weaker hands.  

Round Log Basket with Kirk. FULL(3 students) On this two-day course students will use heavy home-grown rods to create a chunky and durable basket. We will start with a traditional underfoot base followed by a strong wale and randed sides. A nice simple border will be topped-off with either finger hole handles or, for those with more experience, cranked rope handles.

Buff Laundry Basket from the Huntingdon Blind School with Sue.One space available (3 students) This beautiful basket makes hanging out the washing pure joy! This pattern was copied from a basket we repaired for a friend in the village. We loved the design so much that we make a standard washing basket this way now. Learn how to weave an underfoot base with large 7' buff rods, apply a neat slew, (with ends on the outside to avoid snagging), weave a wide border and add cranked willow rope handles.

Thursday 16th and Friday 17th May. Oval Baskets with Kirk and Asymmetric Baskets with Sue

Oval Shopping Basket with Kirk. FULL Intermediate and advanced students only. (3 students) On this two-day course, students will have the opportunity to use our home-grown willows to practice their split-base oval work. We will concentrate on eliminating twist on the base, controlling outward flare of the sides and producing evenly curved shoulders. Finishing with a 5 rod border and wrapped bow handle, students will take home a shopper to be proud of!

Asymmetric Baskets with Sue. FULL Suitable for all levels. (3 students) Working with a variety of fine coloured willows learn how to build one of these pieces originally inspired by the work of Polish Basketmaker Stanislaw Dzuibak. Advanced students build large scale pieces learning how to start a wide diameter base using scalloms. Beginners work on a smaller scale. Learn how to weave with fine willows adding colour to give a painterly finish. 

Open Workshop with Sue. 

Cost £200, 9.30-4.30pm (6 students)

Suitable for all levels, complete beginners welcome.

Thursday 30th and Friday 31st May. FULL

Thursday 25th and Friday 26th July. FULL

Thursday 10th and Friday 11th October. FULL

Thursday 17th and Friday 18th October. FULL

Spend two days submerged in basketry! On this two day workshop which is open to all levels of students you can choose a basket to work on. Work with a variety of coloured willows. Make traditional or contemporary baskets, or work on improving bases or borders. You can also choose to make sculpture or garden structures. If you make figurative sculpture and require a metal frame, there is additional cost for the frame.

Thursday 13th and Friday 14th June. Decorative Trays with Kirk and Multi-Strand Weave Baskets with Sue

Suitable for all levels, beginners- advanced students

Decorative Trays with Kirk. FULL (3 students)These trays look lovely filled with fruit or bread on your kitchen table. Using French randing and contrasting coloured homegrown willows you can create a variety of decorative effects. Small handles are optional. Add either finger hole handles or, for more experienced makers, rope handles can be added. 

Multi-Strand Weave Baskets with Sue. FULL (3 students) Learn how to weave with more than one strand of willow at a time, to create contemporary textured patterns on the sides of your baskets. Choose from a herringbone weave, tick-tock weave or rope coil weave. Beginners can make simple shaped baskets and intermediate and advanced students can choose to make more complex bulbous shaped baskets. Hazel handles can be added if chosen.

Thursday 18th and Friday 19th July. Garden/Flower Baskets with Kirk and Interlace Baskets with Sue

Garden/Flower Baskets with Kirk. FULL Suitable for intermediate and advanced students. (3 students) On this two day course weave with home-grown willows to create a shallow oval basket for use in the garden. The design is originally based on Mary Butcher's Garden Basket and has been adapted with additional colour. You can choose to make your basket shallow for gathering flowers or with slightly higher sides for use in the garden. We will concentrate on creating an evenly domed base and getting our curves in all the right places! The basket is topped off with a simple 5 rod border and a low wrapped handle.

Interlaced Baskets with Sue. FULL Suitable for all levels (3 students) Learn how to build large and small scale non-figurative sculptural bowls using the interlace technique. A creative, explorative workshop suitable for all levels. You can add hazel handles into your baskets and also bring along soft fibres or found objects to incorporate into your work. We will look for inspiration from Japanese bamboo basketry and from contemporary makers such as Catherine Joy, Lizzy Farey, John McQueen and environmental artists Laura Ellen Bacon and Patrick Dougherty. Find your flow and get zoned out in weaving, a relaxing fun two days.

Log basket
IMG_20220816_153742_142
Multi-strand technique
small red and green tray
garden basket
interlace basket Fritha
SCULPTURE

Thursday 27th and Friday 28th June FULL

This is the last year we are offering sculpture workshops with metal frames. Next year we will still provide interlace workshops for small scale pieces, but will no longer be welding frames. We are making this change as Sue wants to have a break from welding and concentrate on basketmaking. We have recommendations of willow sculpture tutors which we can offer students wishing to continue learning how to weave figurative sculpture on metal frames.

Suitable for all levels beginners-advanced students. (8 students)

Spend two creative days weaving a large or small sale sculpture of your choice. You can work on figurative or non-figurative pieces for your home or garden.

Learn how to build a framework over a metal armature and weave using the interlace technique. Practice using willow effectively to build form and fluid surface textures.

Cost £200, includes willow, does not include metal frame.

Order your frame in advance of the workshop when you you book a place.

If you want to use a frame, prices are as follows:

Large frame (stag or deer), £15.00

Medium frame, (sheep or goat) £10.00

Complex frames, (leaping hare) £15.00

Bird frame  (heron, goose, pheasant), £10.00

deer sculpture
PLUM HANDBAGS WITH JUSTIN CAPP

Thursday 9th and Friday 10th May

Suitable for all levels beginners-advanced students (6 students) FULL

We are delighted to have local leather craftsman, Justin Capp, join us again this year after the success of previous year's workshops. Over lockdown we collaborated designing and creating a range of willow and leather handbags. The Plum and Plaited Plum are perfect for a day out to carry your water bottle, phone and snack. The small oval tote has the ingenious threaded leather handle. Learn how to weave a small oval (intermediates) or round (beginners) plum handbag on the first day and then on the second day add leather handles to your basket. Techniques include cutting, edge bevelling, burnishing, the mystery braid (for the plaited plum) and copper saddler's rivets.

Cost £200 per person, includes materials and refreshments.

VISITING BASKETRY TUTORS TO THE OLD BREWERY STUDIOS

This year we are thrilled to be hosting workshops for the third year running by some of Europe's leading professional basketmakers . Jenny Crisp, Peter Dibble, Nadine Anderson and Clair Murphy from the the UK. Francois Desplanches and Benjamin Nauleau from France. Plus Alexandra Marks from Italy. Some of the tutors have kindly agreed to teach 8 students. Student numbers are indicated for each workshop.

In the future we aim to continue inviting prestigious basketmakers to our workshop to offer you the opportunity to weave with the finest craftspeople and design makers from Europe. This year two of these workshops are suitable for beginners, the other two for intermediate to advanced makers. The skill level of the workshop will be made clear when advertised. 

Rush Hats with Clair Murphy

Thursday 7th and Friday 8th March One space available

This course is suitable for beginners but requires perseverance! Also suitable for intermediates and those wishing to improve their rush basketry skills.

Cost £250, includes materials, 9.30am -4.30pm (6 students)

Made over a hat block mould, this sun hat is woven using a pairing weave, or other weaves for those more experienced, and can have a variety of brims to suit your taste. Students will be asked to supply their chosen hot size ahead of the class so that a suitable hat block is available.

Exploring the Irish Weave, Baskets and Shadow Throwers with Nadine Anderson

Thursday 25th and Friday 26th April FULL

Skill Level: Intermediate-Advanced, or very, very confident with French Rand technique.

Cost £250, includes materials, 9.30am-4.30pm (6 students)

A modern take on a traditional weave with it’s origins in the open windows of Irish Donkey Creels.

Using fine Dicky Meadows and Brittany Green willows we will weave baskets with round bases, wall mounted baskets with a single handle, or lampshades to fit small 6-inch diameter metal lamp rings using jigs to form the vessels. The rather striking and strong “Mouthwale” will be explored as a key part of how the Donkey Creels were formed. Vessels may have complete sidings in Irish weave forming horizontal rows of windows with a long diagonal stroke, very graphic and dynamic in appearance. Alternatively, vessels may have densely woven sections with French Rand contrasting with open sections of Irish weave.

 Nadine is also a trained Breath Coach and Yoga Teacher and will guide you through some useful stretches and calming breathing techniques to make your workshop a very grounded mindful experience, and to look after your bodies after a day of sitting and weaving.

Exploring Frame Basketry with Jenny Crisp A rescheduled workshop from 2023

Wednesday 22nd, Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th May Two spaces available

This workshop is suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced students.

Cost £350, includes materials, 9.30am -4.30pm (8 students)

Three days exploring the frame basketry construction. On this course you should be able to make two items using this method. Starting with pre-wired, oval and round hoops, a simple bowl or arm basket is possible. Time will also be spent learning how to make hoops we can work together to build an object of your choice.

Yarmouth Herring Swill with Peter Dibble

Wednesday 3rd, Thursday 4th and Friday 5th July Two spaces available

This course is only suitable for intermediate and advanced students. The basket is quite physical to make and contains a few awkward techniques. So you need to have strong hands and be flexible to make this basket.

Cost £290, includes materials, 9.30am - 4.30pm (8 students)

The Yarmouth Herring Swill is an endangered historic basket distinct to the fishing port of Great Yarmouth on the East Anglian coast. It was used to carry the herring catch from the dock side up the narrow Yarmouth streets by two people, which were called Rows. It was not a legal weight or measure but it did hold roughly a third of a Cran ( a weight measurement for herring). It's a frame basket roughly in a figure of 8 shape from hazel and willow with a central handle for carrying when empty and a handle at both ends so that it can be carried by two people when full. It has waled hazel skis on the bottom so that it stands upright and twisted ties to finish off . So lots of new techniques to learn. The traditional swill is big-almost 3' long x 1.5' tall. Making one is quite an effort so for this course we are going to scale it down making it 3/4 of the size. Peter Dibble is one of the UK's leading basketmakers and is well respected for his beautiful traditional basketry. This is a fabulous opportunity to learn a historic basket pattern, without makers like Peter, these patterns would be lost.

Oval Scallomed Stake Basket with Francois Desplanches

Thursday 15th and Friday 16th August FULL

This course is suitable for intermediate and advanced students, beginners may find this challenging, not suitable for complete beginners. 

Cost £250 includes materials, 9.30- 4.30pm (8 students)

Francois will be teaching this beautiful, neat and well balanced oval scallomed basket. Learn how to create a basket using traditional French techniques. Create a base using a pre-formed hoop and practice making scalloms. Having confidence with a knife is useful for this workshop. Stake up your basket by adding scalloms to the hoop base. Choose a side weave for your basket, you can French or English rand, or slew the sides. You finish the basket with a rod border . Your handle can be wrapped with rods or you can challenge yourself and wrap with cranked rods. Francois is one of France's leading basketmakers, and it is a privilege to be hosting him again at The Old Brewery Studios.

Fitched Waste Paper Basket with Francois Desplanches

Sunday 18th and Monday 19th August Two spaces available

Cost £250 includes materials, 9.30- 4.30pm (8 students)

This course is suitable for advanced and intermediate students with experience with knife work, not suitable for beginners.

Learn how to make this beautiful traditional French basket from the book published by Ecole Nationale de Vannerie, 'La Vannerie l'Osier' edited by Dominique Gueniot, a must have for all basketmakers addicted to French basketry patterns! This fitched basket requires skill, patience and strength. Francois is expert at weaving in this style, he will teach you how to create a base using a pre-formed hoop (26cm in diameter). Attach scalloms to your hoop and weave several rows of fitching up the sides of your basket, practicing the art of increasing the diameter of your basket as you work up to around 37cm in height. Finish with a rod border and rope handles made using cranked willow rods. A perfect course for experienced makers who wish to further their knowledge of French basketry techniques.

Gondole Basket in Hazel and Willow with Benjamin Nauleau

Wednesday 28th, Thursday 29th and Friday 30th August FULL

.Cost £290 includes materials, 9.30- 4.30pm (8 students)

This course is suitable for intermediate and advanced students, for those who have experience working with wood as there is more splitting and shaving wood than weaving with willow.

This beautiful Gondole basket has been passed down through three generations of basketmakers in Benjamin's family and has been reproduced from memory by his father in the last 10 years. Measuring just 25cm, this light gathering basket is perfect for eggs. Benjamin's father describes the basket as a classic design from the West of France, it was a special kind of shopping basket, not the normal all day one, but the 'beautiful one'. Made with hazel and willow. On the first day of the course Benjamin will show you how to harvest hazel from the garden at The Old Brewery Studios. You then learn how to split and shave the hazel. Also learn how to split willow, make skeins and how to 'skale' the willow skeins. Benjamin will be bringing his specialist splitting tool called a 'skein bank' from his workshop in France, this is a fabulous opportunity not to be missed!

Odero Technique with Alexandra Marks

Wednesday 2nd, Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th October FULL

Cost £290 , materials included, 9.30am- 4.30pm (8 students)

Alexandra practiced the technique of the square centre of the Odero wall piece a long time ago in German fine willow work when used it to start oval bases. Later, Alexandra re-discovered it by learning it as a Ugandan weaving technique. The technique of the circle of the wall piece is also from German fine willow work. During the workshop we will use brown willow and Japanese paper band from recycled paper. The diameter of the piece will be roughly 60cm.

Justin and student
Clair hat 2
Nadine 1
Jenny arm basket
Peter's Basket
Francois oval scallomed stake basket
Francois waste paper basket
Benjamin Gondola 2
Alexandra Mark's work
fp3

THREE DAY WORKSHOPS

These three day workshops are created so that you can spend time working on a project of your choice. You may wish to improve on a technique by repeating a certain basket or weave or you could remake a favourite basket. If you are a beginner you can relax and weave at a slower pace on a traditional or contemporary basket. Intermediate or advanced weavers may wish to use the opportunity to try a more challenging technique.

Alternatively, you can concentrate on sculpture or structures for your garden. I can help you with designs or you may be inspired by an item at the workshop.

There is a maximum of 6 students on the course. I can provide details of local guest houses. We start at 9.30 am and finish at 4.30pm.

Cost £290 per person. Materials are not included in the cost of the workshop, on average materials costs can range between £15 and £30.

Suitable for complete beginners, beginners, intermediates and advanced students.

Spring School 25th, 26th and 27th March FULL

First Summer School 19th, 20th and 21st June FULL

Second Summer School 10th, 11th and 12th July FULL

Autumn School 23rd, 24th and 25th October FULL

TUESDAY WORKSHOPS

Come along to one or a set of three Tuesday workshops, held one day a month between March and July. They are open workshops, so you can work on any project of your choice. If you book 3 Tuesdays together you may wish to work on a larger basket or something more complex to complete in the three weeks.

Suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced students.

Cost £100 per day, or book 3 Tuesdays in a block for £260. Includes materials and refreshments, bring your own lunch. 9.30am – 4.30pm

1.Tuesday 5th March FULL

2.Tuesday 23rd April FULL

3.Tuesday 7th May FULL

4.Tuesday 21st May FULL

5.Tuesday 18th June FULL

6.Tuesday 23rd July FULL

workshop student making

WORKSHOP INFORMATION

NEW WORKSHOP DATES FOR 2024 ARE NOW AVAILABLE ON THE WEBSITE.

We just have a couple of spaces left on the workshops. If there is a workshop you wish to attend, but is now full, we encourage you to join a reserve list for that workshop. We often have cancellations. Just send an email with the description of the course you would like to attend and we'll be in touch if any cancellations occur.